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Looking for an entry-level TLR
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Looking for an entry-level TLR Reply with quote

A few weeks ago, I played with a friend's TLR, and I remained very intrigued by this classic type of camera.

So obviously, the next step is to get one myself Mr. Green

What brand/type would you recommend?

My criteria:

-the most important: affordable (I won't be using it on a monthly basis) and relatively reliable
- preferably German, Soviet or European
- uses a relatively common film format

Good online-resources to read about TLR's are also very welcome!


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yashica / Yashicaflex cameras do have very good optics for around 100 euros.

Just avoid ones that use 127 film, that is not available any more.

I'm not sure there is other than Lubitel soviet TLR, which is sort of Lomo thing.
German ones are usually expensive or very old.

http://www.tlr-cameras.com/TLRs.htm


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for an entry-level TLR Reply with quote

Sjak wrote:
A few weeks ago, I played with a friend's TLR, and I remained very intrigued by this classic type of camera.

So obviously, the next step is to get one myself Mr. Green

What brand/type would you recommend?

My criteria:

-the most important: affordable (I won't be using it on a monthly basis) and relatively reliable
- preferably German, Soviet or European
- uses a relatively common film format

Good online-resources to read about TLR's are also very welcome!

Why "preferably German, Soviet or European"?
I think that if you are seeking entry-level cameras, going with a Japanese TLR will greatly expand your options. The best TLRs from Yashica and Minolta may not be Rolleiflexes, but they are right behind them and absolutely great cameras.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! How can I identify whether they use 127 film?


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for an entry-level TLR Reply with quote

konicamera wrote:

Why "preferably German, Soviet or European"?
I think that if you are seeking entry-level cameras, going with a Japanese TLR will greatly expand your options. The best TLRs from Yashica and Minolta may not be Rolleiflexes, but they are right behind them and absolutely great cameras.

In general, my collection has an emphasis on German and Soviet stuff. More out of historical interest, unrelated to the quality. So if I can keep some consistency, it's a bonus, but not a must Smile


PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ricoh Diacord has a good lens and used to be not expensive... I'm hoping it still is less than one of the Yashicas. It has an auto stop on the film advance but you have to cock the shutter separately. There's also a Ricoh TLR with the focus gears on the outside, these probably are OK but are lesser cameras originally than the Diacord. With the Diacord I recommend don't pay extra for the model with the light meter - it's heavier, one more thing to break, and there are fewer aperture blades than with the non-metered Diacord. The lens is very sharp and contrasty, though the camera's history will have a big influence on any particular example

A Ciro-Flex also can produce excellent results, though I've never used one.

http://www.tlr-cameras.com/


PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For 100 euros you can buy a Yashica Mat 124 -- not the 124G, which is overpriced anyway. Just the plain 124. Advantages is it takes both 120 and 220 film. Although 220 is getting kinda uncommon now, sometimes you still run across it. But 120 is the universal medium format film. The 124 also has a meter. It's nothing to write home about but it works reasonably well. And finally, the 124 takes the better Yashinon lens.

You can find cheaper Yashica TLRs and they are fine picture takers, but for your budget I'd get one with the better Yashinon lens.

I own a Yashica Mat 124 and I've been very happy with its performance.

Yashica Mat 124, lens wide open at f/3.5


PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sjak wrote:
Thanks! How can I identify whether they use 127 film?

ususally they are smaller than 120 cameras, check the specifications anyways before buying, sometimes the seller doesn't know what she is selling (127 TLR's were often women's cameras, slightly more decorated, color instead of black leather etc, my aunt had one)

http://www.mikeeckman.com/2016/10/yashica-44-1958/

edit: I didn't know that there are 620 film TLR:s too?


PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for sharing your insights and providing some reading material.

Looks like a fascinating page in the history of photography!

I'm going to take some time to get more knowledge on the various brands, film sizes, etc.

Something to add to the projects for this winter Thank You Dog


PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 620 film format was Kodak's attempt to corner the medium format market. Most all 620 cameras are Kodak, as a result. It is possible to convert a 620 camera to 120. The Kodak Medalist is one that is often converted. It is also possible to respool 120 onto 620 spools, from what I understand. But if I owned a 620 camera, I think I'd try doing a conversion instead.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of camera model resources on the internet. I go to http://www.butkus.org/chinon/index.html for manuals for vintage cameras. He asks for donations, but has a wealth of information.

Phil


PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
The 620 film format was Kodak's attempt to corner the medium format market. Most all 620 cameras are Kodak, as a result. It is possible to convert a 620 camera to 120. The Kodak Medalist is one that is often converted. It is also possible to respool 120 onto 620 spools, from what I understand. But if I owned a 620 camera, I think I'd try doing a conversion instead.


Converting 620 cameras to 120 is not always possible, mostly the film chamber is simply too small to accept the larger-diameter 120 spool.

Rewinding 120 film onto 620 spools is the work of a few seconds ... well, maybe a minute or so.

First the 120 film needs to be fully wound onto a second spool, this can be either another 120 spool or a 620 spool. If you've got a 120 film camera to hand you can use this for this part of the job Wink

Then rewind the film back onto a 620 spool. This probably needs to be done manually, in the dark, as the trailing edge of the film itself needs to be tucked in to the backing paper as it's being rewound. Have an elastic band to hand to retain the film/backing paper on the spool once it's rewound Wink

A familiarity with handling roll film in the dark is assumed Wink

Whilst you're searching for a camera, don't forget the Czech Meopta Flexaret. I had an example for a short period and remember it was a very capable camera ... it also raised quite a degree of interest when I auctioned it on eBay Wink

The Lubitel is apparently very basic, but as is often the way with Russian cameras, the shutter on mine was quite accurate, (if a little inconvenient to use, I used a short cable release!) and the lens was quite acceptably sharp! Just be sure there's no part of the all-plastic body cracked or broken off which might cause light-leaks.

YMMV - good luck - Enjoy !!


PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say Mamiya C220. But it is not small, takes 120 spool and it has interchangeable lenses. Just google for Mamiya C220 and see.
Regards, Cliff.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dnf_spedition wrote:
I would say Mamiya C220. But it is not small, takes 120 spool and it has interchangeable lenses. Just google for Mamiya C220 and see.
Regards, Cliff.
Thanks Cliff! Size is not really a consideration once delving into medium format so no worries. It's for very occasional use anyway.

PWhite214 wrote:
There are a lot of camera model resources on the internet. I go to http://www.butkus.org/chinon/index.html for manuals for vintage cameras. He asks for donations, but has a wealth of information.

Phil
Thanks Phil, superb link!